The headline U-3 unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 but the real exciting part is that the
employment-population ratio edged up to 59.8 percent over the month and labor force participation rate moved up to 62.9 percent. Both indicators have increased by 0.5 percentage point since September. This means that people are re-entering the workforce and finding jobs.
I would like to make a case that small businesses are finally participating in the recovery, for example over the past 6 months I have noticed many large well known corporations laying off employees or shutting down factories and moving out of the country, so I would say most of the non-farm payrolls have been created by entrepreneurs at the small business level, some may be franchise owners.
Job growth occurred in the health care and social assistance, retail trade, food services
and drinking places, and private educational services. Mining employment
continued to decline mostly due to the global supply of crude oil.
I am forecasting a 2016 GDP growth rate of 1.5% to 1.9% and Fed Funds Rate of around 1% by December of 2016, that means I am anticipating 2 rate hikes of 25 basis points each. This means small business borrowing rates should remain near historical lows all through 2016. Inflation should be higher in 2016 with my estimate of CPI being around 2.5% year over year.
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